Things Fall Apart

A lot of us have a sense of things falling apart. This is both real and crazy. Neoneocon puzzled me yesterday by having a “the center cannot hold” post, all lamenting that America as she was is gone. She’s both wrong and right, and from the morose tone more wrong than right.

On a little thought I came to understand it. A lot of us have a sense things are falling apart, and we’re right, they are. But it doesn’t follow the falling apart is bad. Or that what emerges will not be American. Stop staring at me. I haven’t lost my mind.

Look, a lot of us are ah “Mid century modern.” We were born from the early fifties to the late sixties.” Ignoring boomers and such (I was never a boomer, but Obama born a year before me is an echo-boomer. It’s all in who your parents are.) there was both an aestheic and a feel to the mid century.

A lot of you think of it as a golden age, but I’d like to suggest to you that this is because you were children and most of your idea of what that time was, now, rests in the left attempting to depict it as “an evil right wing time.” It wasn’t. Things were already falling apart, they were just hidden. And the things that weren’t falling apart were things that were inherently anti-American, or at best un-American.

It painted itself as a golden age, and it was a prosperous age for America, particularly, on account of us being the only ones standing in the post WWII devastation. (However, in terms of creature comforts, we have a lot more now. And yeah, we have more living space, our houses are more functional, etc. etc. We’re also more free. More on that later.)

But the ideas we had in childhood… well… Things would get incrementally better, and we were going to the moon. And we’d have space colonies. And– and– and–

A lot of them didn’t come to pass, but things did get better, despite our news and academia ramping up the whining, cringing and screaming. And our government being revealed as more and more incompetent, and at times (the seventies, now) conducting a cold war on the people.

So …. this is hard to explain. I have a friend who in the depths of the Obomination told me that the start we had on the space program was all wrong. We basically borrowed the German space program, and sure, it took us to the moon, but it was centralized, and regimented, and government-led, and therefore ALL WRONG for America.

I’ll point out he’s right, and that at the time everyone thought that it had to be all those things: Centralized, regimented and government-led.

Because the fifties, sixties, and heck up through the early eighties, since mass communication was mass communication, the government and big corporations projected an image of flawless competence, and of being able to do a lot more with centralization and standardization.

To an extent this was correct because of the …. technology of the era. News were centralized because it was easier and more economic to have news agencies from which every newspaper pulled; it was easier to print millions of newspapers all over, with the same, unexamined, news going everywhere. And it was easier and cheaper to make one kind of shoes in a factory somewhere, than three thousand different pairs of shoes in little factories all over.

This is what led the Soviets and other sh*theads to believe that command, absolutely centralized economies were best. Those floundered on information issues, but to an extent all the economies and politics of the mid-century had information problems. The US was JUST chaotic enough that they weren’t as bad as in the USSR, but they were there. And the media sold stories that weren’t so, hence “FDR saved us from the Great Depression” making it to the history books. Or our wretched intelligence agencies being considered efficient, while they were buying bullsh*t from the Russians wholesale. (A lot of their missile capacity was just trucks driving long tubes across the country. One wonders if the CIA was that inefficient or already corrupted. I mean, we do know McCarthy’s biggest sin was being already MUCH too late.) I remember sitting with my host brother in a living room in Ohio in 1980 and speculating that the CIA and the FBI probably knew things about us we didn’t know. For you kids, yes, we used to think they were that efficient. Which is easy to believe, when the information you get is controlled by a few news agencies, most of them fully into the centralized government idea. We were in fact lunatics. Even if they could collect all that information, they could never have processed.

I confess I too bought the idea of the golden fifties, for a while, until I started reading stuff written by people of the time, from the autobiographies of unimportant people (Your library probably has a ton. People publish grandma’s biography and give a copy to the library. Look under local) to collected letters. What emerged was the image of a country trying very badly to sovietize.

There is a reason for that. The edifice of government we live and have lived with for almost a hundred years was made and put in place by FDR who was a great admirer of the Soviet Union. Which is why he cast in on their side in WWII. (He also personally disliked Germans. Otherwise he might have gone the other way, yes.)

There were precursors, of course. And remember ACW is a forbidden topic, but yes, Lincoln set in motion the primacy of the Federal government. I do understand why — spare us his necessities — but yes, it was a corruption of the American system. Then Woodrow Wilson in World War I did some rather horrendous things with propaganda and centralization. And then FDR. Well… FDR.

In his defense, every politician of the era, including nominal republicans thought that we needed “progress” defined as center-out top-down systems for everything. In FDR though, it notched into a type of personality that made the whole thing insanely expansive, authoritarian and yes, toxic. (It wasn’t wrong for Obama to compare himself to FDR.)

In his not defense, if that’s what he wanted, he should have moved to Europe where they were already largely like that. This system was anti-American enough that it never fully “took” here, the way it did in Europe.

Yeah, it corrupted almost everything including government, education and manufacturing. But it didn’t reach all the way down. Americans stayed armed. Americans stayed religious in numbers that dwarf Europe (And please, do not bleat. Yes, a ton of people these days don’t identify as belonging to any organized religion. Are you kidding? This surprises you after 2020? I despise myself a little that I still do belong to an organized religion, but in our case, we’re very old, and we’ve had worse happen to our organization.) AND more importantly, Americans stayed individualistic by and large. And no, you can’t imagine how much unless you can compare them to Europeans, who on average are less do-for-yourself than your average welfare case in the US. (Remember how Obama hates that in use. He too has seen other countries.) Americans stayed patriotic, instead of embracing the “citizen of the world” mentality. (Except for the over-educated and stupid.) This too isn’t true in Europe.

The problem — from the left’s point of view — is that in the last twenty years, and definitely in the last two, the system has proven not to work.

Some of us always knew it, of course. BUT most people until the last two years or so, still thought that “top down, center out, authorities know best” was a flawless and efficient system. Most still thought “US Intelligence Services” wasn’t an oxymoron.

Some of us, making us of the leaks around the edges, the blogs, the other means of information, already had a sense that none of that was working. Except even we might have overestimated them.

But the last two years more or less rubbed everyone’s face in it. These systems aren’t working. They’re falling apart. Russia and China, pointed at as successes of centralization and top down are in fact florid disasters, and would probably have collapsed long ago if we didn’t support them in various ways, mostly with food, and by buying an endless wash of shoddy products (in China’s case.) Oh, and also by treating them as peers, with non-laughable currencies.

It’s like the image in Terry Pratchett where you have the beautiful golden throne, but it’s in fact rotten wood covered in gold leaf.

Neither their nor our centralization has produced anything but bad information, a ton of weird plots, an immense amount of waste, and a lot of human suffering. It’s entirely possible that the US Federal government is not good at much of anything but extracting money from its citizens and making it hard to do business. Oh, they could be good at guarding the borders, but they seem to not be interested in that. Possibly because it’s a function specified in the Constitution.

Someone said that centralization inevitably leads to fascism. They’re not wrong. A powerful centralized government eventually controls education, which leads to control of industry and news. Which leads to fascism. Or crony capitalism. They’re the same, though possibly different phases.

Part of what annoys our left is that they think they were so close to imposing this on us.

The truth of course, is they never were. It was just vitiated information, which is a side effect of centralization, making it appear like that.

But the devil is in the details, and in the details they never had us.

America is a spirit of hunching your shoulder and telling your “masters” to go p*ss up a rope. And THAT spirit is still very much alive, which is why in 2020 in the face of the most determined gaslighting and panic porn and for the love of heaven mass house arrests, all designed to demonize Trump and make us vote for the potted plant, we hunched our shoulders and voted for Trump in such numbers that they had to fraud at the last minute, in quantity enough to be visible.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, combined with how their cunning plans keep falling apart, has had the left in a panic ever since.

Yes, things are falling apart. Most of what’s falling apart, though, is the house that FDR built, an un-American, where it wasn’t outright anti-American, structure, which couldn’t long stand in the land of the Free. It already stood too long. And yes, it needs to come down.

Fortunately the Constitution which was perfect for an agrarian people is equally suited to a chaotic, decentralized post-mass-industrialization people.

Our Constitution is supposed to herd together the individualist cats JUST enough to make them live in peace and generate prosperity. And to that it is supremely well suited. We just need to get rid of all the cr*p our law system has accreted through the mass-industrial age and get back to the Constitution.

Honestly, since the collapse of centralized anything is worldwide, it might only be us standing in the end, with both the disposition and the laws to make the new age work. Which would be…. about normal.

Yes, everything is falling apart. But it’s not OUR THINGS. It’s not America. It’s the nonsense built on top of us, while lulling us with false information.

The collapse is inevitable, as is the rebuilding. And we have a better than even chance of making the future more American than ever.

So, be not afraid. Put your shoulder to the wheel and push.

All this smoke just means the American Phoenix is about to be re-born.

332 thoughts on “Things Fall Apart

  1. We did not get to the moon through centralization: we got there because a bunch of dedicated crazies (including a bunch of those German scientists) did an end run around the nascent bureaucracy to create the moon shot that actually got us there.

    As I recall NASA bureaucracy wanted to do a single ship landing thing that was the simple/safe bet option. They thought that a lunar rendezvous would be simply to risky to even consider.

    The US vs Soviet Intel, they both have key blind spots. The Soviets are very good at appearing bigger than they really are, and the US is really good at convincing the world we’re smaller. Mostly through tons and tons of completely bonkers reports going out in every possible direction that are so out there that everyone just assumes they are fake.

    Which is probably why the US Psychics program was so successful…

    1. The Reader notes that Von Braun and the other ‘Germans’ in Huntsville favored what they called Earth Orbit Rendezvous where 2 or more of the Saturn I boosters most of the way through development would launch the pieces of a lunar mission into earth orbit and assemble and proceed from there to the moon. This would have had the advantage of jump starting a space station ‘like’ presence in earth orbit. The Lunar Orbit Rendezvous plan chosen came from NASA Langley and was chosen as a compromise between the direct ascent plan you referred to (which required a booster so big many doubted its feasibility) and the Earth Orbit Rendezvous which did not require the development of what became the Saturn V. Many observers believe that NASA’s choice sacrificed an early opportunity for a long term earth orbit presence.

      1. My understanding is that many of the German scientists opposed the moon landing because they thought it was a sideshow from the much more important Mars landing…Von Braun is said to have predicted that the successful moon landing would cause politicians to declare victory and sideline further human space exploration…He was right.

        1. The big advantage of the Moon is that it doesn’t take long to get there. You get your guy there and back again, and only a little time has passed. Trips to Mars, on the other hand, take a long time – long enough that you’d probably want to do more than plant the flag and pick up some rocks.

          It’s also worth noting that getting to the Moon only really made sense in the context of the Space Race – i.e. the opportunity to say, “We did it first!” And so far, “We’re the only ones who’ve done it!” since the Soviets gave up, and China still hasn’t sent a manned mission up there. Sending a man to the Moon was great as far as inspiration and cool factor. But it didn’t really serve much of a practical purpose aside from conducting some science experiments that couldn’t be done anywhere else and that had to have people present. Don’t get me wrong. If I were offered the opportunity to go to the Moon I’d take that opportunity in a heartbeat. But I’d just be a tourist, nothing more. The issue is that we’re not ready to do anything with the Moon just yet.

          It’s the same problem with Mars.

          NASA served a purpose that I think was good, and that purpose was to win the Space Race. It blocked an attempt by the Soviets to turn space into a platform for Communist propaganda. But the real heavy lifting of space advancement going forward is going to need to be done by the commercial companies. They’ll dictate the pace at which the important things move forward. If NASA were to put a crew on Mars tomorrow, it would be neat. But it would likely mean little in the larger scheme of things. What moves progress in space is the ability to exploit and develop it.

          1. I still want a company to go out there and snag us some asteroids to mine. Work out the issues with orbital smelting, drop refined metals into the ocean. That could really kick start us getting back into space, even if it’s not economic to start with. The fact that it could become so would likely be enough.

            1. in some cases, the opposite would happen- it would be very very profitable for a very short period at first, but then the price of that metal would tank… i’m thinking, specifically, certain mid-periodic-table metals

              1. Yeah, that makes sense. It would flip the market in a bad way if it wasn’t handled properly. 16 Psyche alone could distort the entire world’s economy for years, and that’s not considering what lesser % elements might be hiding in it.

                Snagging rocks is a long game, though. There might be time to adjust things on the ground before crashing the metals market with an orbital strike.

                …Yeah, I know, expecting that much common sense out of politicians (who would inevitably want to stick their noses in) is a fools game. But you never know with these things.

                1. It was so hard to produce Aluminum in the late 19th century it was very expensive. If it had stayed at that cost, using it for airplanes would have been too expensive. So bringing down the cost of materials is actually a good thing. If gold was cheaper, there are many uses for it.

                  There have been many times in human history that have had to adjust to the shortage or surplus of a material. Surplus is good. Cheap energy is good. Wind energy is bad.

              2. There was an old USENET discussion on asteroid mining in one of the science fiction groups that touched on that point and how to avoid it. The Hotelling theorem comes into play. (Named after Harold Hotelling; not about hotels.)

            2. If we wait long enough, the asteroids will come to us and drop the metal into the ocean without us doing anything.

    2. I don’t know what it all means, but after the second abort because of fueling leak, Artemis I is gonna have to miss its next window on account of leak repairs. Basically, the leak can maybe be fixed quickly, but there is a certification that expires, and they have to move it to a different site to redo the measurements to recertify.

      Good, bad? I dunno.

      1. Given that Artemis has never had a successful fueling test (the “wet” test in Jun had a hydrogen leak and never got the tanks full) but was allowed to try to launch anyway last week makes me doubt it will be fixed quickly but also shows that NASA is being pushed to get it to work even if they have to cut corners.
        The Feds need to stop hindering the testing of the SpaceX Starship which will make Artemis obselete.

          1. i think its waaay too late for us to be building any kind of launch vehicle based off shuttle gear… like, 30 years too late.

            1. well, maybe harris and biden have a superlative genius when it comes to bleeding edge technology, and systems engineering management

              and maybe i am currently competent to operate heavy machinary

                1. Yup But the Bush II version wasn’t much (if any) better. It was reusing Shuttle hardware too. After the loss of Columbia in 2003 it was pretty clear that we’d be getting very lucky with shuttle launches/lamdings and if we kept things up all the remaining shuttle vehicles would suffer Challenger or Columbia’s fate. But NOBODY wanted to spend the money to do new development and frankly NASA had lost its chops for that long ago.

                  The problem is the shuttle was a mass of compromises to start with. Initially it was meant to launch from a ground based launcher that would be essentially a HUGE aircraft. It would get the Shuttle and fuel to 50-70Kft and the SSMEs that were tuned for low pressure/vacuum would put it in space. But then someone decided the shuttle needed to be the One Launch System to Rule Them all (mostly to “save:” money) and the shuttle gained weight as did its launch vehicle. The launch vehicle’s cost went sky high so the shuttle was changed to launch from ground with boosters. Those ultimately became the SRB’s we know and hate (cost issue). On top of that the SSME’s were super expensive and their Hydrogen/LOX cycle that made sense at 50k+ feet was a pain in the ass at ground level. SLS uses those suboptimal gold plated engines (and throws them away, at least the shuttles reused them) and stretch (5 segment vs 4) versions of the notorious SRBs. Right now ALL the work for SLS is spread through many states and many contractors so tossing it requires far more intestinal fortitude than most congress critters possess. It doesn’t help the only even vaguely possible solution is the SpaceX Starship/Super Heavy combo, and that would have to use a more Von Braun like model with fueling in orbit and similar tricks. But right now the OLD NASA and FAA types are protecting their phony baloney jobs by impeding Starship as heavily as possible. I fear that Elon Musk is doomed to play D.D. Harriman and he knows it.

        1. NASA is being pushed to get it to work even if they have to cut corners.

          I’m expecting an earth-shattering kaboom.

          1. Indeed, My bet is 60% earth shattering kaboom, 37% SLS flies exactly once, 3% it actually gets used for manned spaceflight (and that 3% is probably hilariously over optomistic 🙂 ).

        2. And if they do ‘succesfully’ keep Starship from flying, on something vaguely like schedule, it’s rather a bit worse for the overall Artemis ‘return to the the Moon’ Project — as in, outright fatal to that aim. At most, the ‘Artemis’ rocket (etc.) could do an Apollo-8-style flyby. Or enter a high lunar orbit, hang out for a while, then run for home. NASA has no ‘in house’ lunar lander in development — that contract’s been let to Space X for a slightly-modified Starship variant.

          Let me say that again: Artemis has no Moon landing without Space X and Starship (Moon).

          The Space Launch System (IIRC, there’ve been so many half-built versions of post-shuttle it’s hard to tell the players without a scorecard) cannot do more and is not expected to do more than put astronauts in the ‘Orion’ capsule (a name that’s already been ‘taken’ since the 1960s for something much more impressive BTW, see “Project Orion” a.k.a. ‘Bang-Bang’) into a very high, very elongated, very easy to reach lunar orbit. There to dock with either a mini-space-station “Gateway” or a Starship-derived lander. That’s what does the ‘heavy lifting’ of getting all the way down to the lunar surface, and all the way back up to that high orbit (‘easy’ in terms of fuel to reach from Earth, once you’re on your way courtesy of the big launch vehicle, but ‘hard’ to reach from the Moon). Then you can get back into the capsule and head back to Earth.

          There were three major bids, the other two from Blue Origin (Bezos) and a gaggle of Usual Suspects from the aerospace industry, and a rather creative one from a smaller company. When it came down to it, the decision was (likely) made because the Starship is expected to be far more capable, and was at least as ready as the others. (For instance, the BO ‘National Team’ lander ended up being three stages of mutually incompatible rockets and rocket fuels, only one of which might someday be re-usuable; and almost none of their hardware actually existed yet either.) And Space X essentially offered to foot most of the short-term bill for the development work, since Starship is going forward anyway… which might have made them the only financially viable option. (Then, of course, Bezos & Co. whined loudly about not being picked, and even added further delays with an official protest of the decision.)

          The reason for that odd high-orbit rendezvous thing is, ultimately, that Apollo had a smallish Command Module with a big (and capable) Service Module with the main engine and fuel; where Artemis has a huge capsule with a wimpy Service Module equivalent. There can’t be a bigger one of the latter, because the launch vehicle can’t get it and the big ‘Orion’ capsule onto a transfer orbit to the Moon… and then the sort-of-SM literally doesn’t have the capability to put the craft into a low, circular, Apollo-style orbit, then break orbit to head for Earth again, never mind doing that with anything like the Apollo LEM to go to and from the lunar surface too (a la Apolllo). In the end, the NASA hardware is basically only a ‘taxi’ to get Artemis astronauts back and forth to and from (high, low-delta-v cost) lunar orbit.

          If Artemis succeeds (and I truly do hope it does), this will probably be the last, vestigial gasp of the Apollo-like ‘big government project’ system… and it already can’t work without using privately-developed rockets to/from the Moon itself.

        3. Last time they cut corners they spread a shuttle and body parts all across Texas.
          Time before that, they blew up a shuttle and had the astronauts, that may or may not have survived the explosion, take a several minute fall to a crushing smashing death in the Atlantic.
          Not sure if the Apollo 1 fire was cutting corners, or something they’d not considered because they were breaking ground with a system they didn’t know anything about.

          1. The Shuttle was one of those “too expensive to risk failure” systems, so it never got adequately flight tested, so of course it failed. From this distance, Artemis looks like another, except that even the ground testing is too expensive. If it ever does get off the ground, I rather cynically expect a NASA-shattering kaboom in short order.

          2. Apollo 1 was we’re in a hell of a hurry and cutting corners. Pure oxy atmosphere, badly assembled electronics, stupid door that had to be opened from the outside with tools.. Apollo 13 showed they were still rushing..

          3. About Columbia — they knew there was likely a problem, but “We don’t have a way to inspect the orbiter in space, waaaaah!”

            I yelled at the idiot box: “Ya don’t have a space suit and a ROPE?”

            But if thar ain’t an Approved Procedure, cain’t nuttin’ git done. ‘Cause it wouldn’t be safe, don’t’cha know.
            There are forms of stupidity that businesses can’t indulge in. There are no such limitations on the stupidity of government.

            1. This was hiding the bigger problem: If they did find a way to inspect the orbiter in space and found damage, what were they going to do about it? At that point, I don’t think anyone had any good answers.

              1. When I was working on Kwajalein, one of my buddies worked with the cameras they used to document ICBM warhead interceptions. He said they could count the rivets on the shuttle, and did on at least one occasion . . .

    3. We got to the moon because the engineers and machinists ran waaaay ahead of the bureaucrats.

      When the bureaucrats caught up, we got the Space Shuttle. Disaster was built into it, and then more was tacked on afterwards. Don’t even get started on the politics.
      The government can mandate stupidity, but they can’t make it not be stupid.

      1. We got to the moon because the engineers and machinists had a blank check to fulfill Saint Kennedy’s prophecy. Once that was accomplished the government demanded NASA work to a budget and we got Space Shuttle and SLS.

        Maybe things would have been different if the bulk of the NASA cutbacks in the ’70s were from the bureaucracy, but since it was the bureaucrats who decided what got cut we’ll never know.

        And it’s not like bureausclerosis is unique to government agencies, just look at Boeing, but the advantage the private sector has is allowing new companies to come up and displace the ones that have succumbed to the disease.

  2. My daughter and I spent last Sunday traveling along Texas Wine Road (Rte 290), which is planted thickly now with small independent wineries and distilleries – I swear, if you stopped at every single one and had a single sample glass, your liver would be begging for mercy by the time you got to Fredericksburg – and that leaves out all the tasting rooms and winery venues IN Fredericksburg itself. (Many of the wineries are small, boutique affairs, but several of them have wines sold in local grocery stores.) We got to Fredericksburg, and the Museum of the Pacific War, and the place was absolutely jammed. Happy people, large families, dogs on a leash with their owners … it was so peaceful, prosperous, and normal. New buildings going up on Main Street, but built to blend into the existing late 19th century look of the place. Sidewalks, stores and restaurants all crowded. A woman in the Fisher and Weiser outlet commented to a friend that she had never, ever seen so many cute children and darling dogs in one day in her life. I said, “It’s Texas – we breed ’em here!” and she laughed. It was that kind of day – a beautiful antidote to Dark Brandon’s imitation of a fascist dictator pounding the podium last week.

    1. It occurs to me that this line of thinking might help me get through to my more liberal young family members.

      Government control of the beer brewing industry got us Budweiser beer and, heaven help us, Bud Light.

      Dropping government control got us craft beers in every tiny town and village across the country.

      It’s illegal now to distill bourbon without government permission. Can you imagine what great bourbons we are missing out on because of government control?

      It might give them pause.

      1. I seem to recall Jimmeh Carter being the one who singed the law which removed some Prohibition-era obstacles around brewing beer, which set the stage for the umpty-zilliion microbrews now available. See, there’s one thing he did right.

          1. The Biden* Regime is asymptotically approaching Perfect Incompetence at a frightening rate.

            As well as Imperfect Incontinence.

            Can you think of anything they haven’t F’d up?
            People can make stupid mistakes, but only the government can force everybody to make the SAME stupid mistakes.

            1. Usually SOME members of an administration have not risen to their level of incompetence (per Peter Principle), but it seems to me every last one of Biden’s people is WAY past their limit, let alone the Turnip in Chief.

      2. In Pennsylvania we have probably the most archaic Prohibition-style liquor control laws in the entire U.S. A decade or so ago, however, some lawmakers managed to pass into law a relaxing of the restrictions, in that an establishment could sell beer and wine without purchasing a liquor license if they brewed it on site and if they also served food. The result is absolutely as you would predict – Pennsylvania has more microbreweries than just about anywhere in the world. Many of them are even pretty good. It’s the kind of thing that happens when you get the government to simply step out of the way.

    2. The Reader and his wife loved the Fredericksburg area when we were there in 2020. We only had a few hours at the Museum of the Pacific War and the Reader hopes to get back there. We spent too much time stopping at distilleries on the way and had to get to Austin that evening.

  3. My theory: Old people, like me, die of cumulative disgust. “O, tempore! O, mores!” My goal — live long enough to have Libertycon afterglow.

  4. I’ve long held the belief that the reason our intelligence agencies are unable to prevent the leaking of massive amounts of classified data is because the people running them want that info leaked, and therefore make it easy to do so. RW CD players on laptops that are used to view classified material? Really?

    1. No. They’re just idiots.

      Apparently Richard Feynman ended up being to go-to tester of classified material safes because he pointed out that just putting a padlock on a standard filing cabinet does nothing to prevent people from reaching around the open back and plucking out whatever…

  5. Your optimism is a real shining light to those of us out here who tend to let ourselves get black-pilled too easily. Mainly because it’s not Pollyanna puppies and rainbows optimism, it’s a thoughtful, realistic optimism that says “yeah, things are probably going to suck, but we’ll get through the suck and come out the other side better and stronger.” Thank you.

  6. The Saxon is not like us Normans. His manners are not so polite.
    But he never means anything serious till he talks about justice and right.
    When he stands like an ox in the furrow, with his sullen set eyes on your own,
    And grumbles, “This isn’t fair dealing,” my son, leave the Saxon alone.

    —Rudyard Kipling

      1. The thing is, most of the earlier, core Americans had ties to:
        – Celts/Scottish
        – Germanic peoples
        – Normans/Vikings
        Groups that are loath to go along with authority. Add in the Scots/Irish hillbillies, and you can see the problems involved in herding Americans.
        We are descended from ornery, stiff-necked peoples. And, from what I can see in my family, the basic temperament is heritable.

        1. You ain’t kidding. I come from a very long line of those people. French Huguenots, Saxon yeomen, Englishmen with Viking surnames, Scots…a veritable melting-pot of troublemakers and stubborn “no, you can’t make me” types. Looking at most of my relatives, the apples don’t tend to fall far from the tree.

          1. “We’re all very different people; we’re not watoosie, we’re not Spartans. We’re Americans, with a capital A, huh? You know what that means? Do ya? That means that our forefathers were kicked out of every out every decent country in the world. We are the wretched refuse. We’re underdogs, we’re mutts!}”

            My da liked to say that he added hybrid vigor to my mother’s family stick: not a tree, not enough branches iynwim.

              1. Our side best!

                Great shortage of last names in my mum’s pedigree. Explains a lot about some of my cousins,

                I did find a cross between my da and mum’s pedigree back in the eighteenth century. Shows just how little genetic diversity there really is, either that or the law of large numbers, I’m not so sure.

                1. /laugh
                  I haven’t run into any intermarriage with my side of the family, even with my mother being from a long line of farmers. Apparently they kept moving every generation or two, so they weren’t stuck with the same group to pair from.

                  Wife’s side of the family had several cousin marriages in her Nova Scotia branch. Apparently the remoteness of the towns and the lack of travel options also limited the marriage prospects.

                  1. Oregon same. A lot of the great-grands had siblings that never married because local population of the 4 – 6 small farming communities (depending on how far draws the circle) were cousins. Those that did marry, often married more recent emigrants (Scotland and Germany, are the ones I know of). Even now have instances in the area where “cousins” are marrying. Third and 4th cousins, but still cousins. So here is a huge lot of branches on the family tree, just some of it is intertwined.

                  2. My ex would recall the two or three old ladies in her little Minnesota town just off the Ojibwe reservation, who carried everyone’s family trees in their heads and would pronounce on who wasn’t allowed to date whom.

              1. It’s cousins of one degree or another all the way down, both sides to be fair since the paternal/paternal line isn’t all that diverse either. It always made family get together “interesting” I was supposed to marry a second cousin, the mothers had it all worked out. Would’ve fixed an inheritance issue. We’re good friends to this day but a marriage? Shudder.

                The downside is a bunch of really nasty recessives that manifest from time to time. My sister’s youngest boy has his own cabinet at the epilepsy museum. They’ve done in depth genetic testing and …. Yeah.

          2. By the time of steam ships, there were those who migrated to make money and go back, and those who did. Overlap imperfect. But most Italian towns had someone who went and returned to live like a signore.

            They were also noted for wanting their children educated as professionals

          1. Dry kitty tone Or people who where strongly encouraged by their governments to find another place upon which to inflict, er, to grace with their presence. end dry kitty tone

            1. Which is why the West Coast didn’t start catching up until getting there involved a few days on a train vs a few weeks / months by horse and foot, or a voyage around Cape Horn.

            2. Albion’s Seed says that the “Scotch-Irish” showed up in places like Pennsylvania and Maryland, and the local settlers told them, “Hey, yeah, there’s some great unclaimed land that-a-way” and pointed them west.

              1. Some of them turned the wrong way. Maybe not Scot-Irish exactly, but there’s a long history of Key-Stoners moving to North (and probably South) Carolina, starting with Daniel Boone (who himself turned west).

          2. Not just the first hundred years either. My most recent arrived ancestors, the great grandparents were also irresistible forces in their own rights.

            I’m told one of them, when he was a kid, prior to his emigrating, had sailed across the Mediterranean with a friend in an open top sailboat to go get his apprenticeship in carpentry, and didn’t particularly slow down at all after that.

        2. Even the English ones were: risk-taking entrepreneurs; literal Non- Conformists. Stubborn baked right into the beginning.

    1. Damn right. This isn’t fair dealing, and hasn’t been for longer than this particular Gen-X “Saxon” has been alive.

      I have that “things fall apart, the centre cannot hold” sense very strongly these days, too, but it’s rooted in my recent realization that the entire American enterprise was hijacked before I even had a vote in it. That’s the “center” that’s falling apart, and it NEEDS to.

      I’m sad, yes, but mostly angry. The collectivist/Marxist shitheads have set our entire society spinning in the widening gyre, and we’re all going to pay for it. They deserve to. The rest of us…we’re going to have to put everything together, and I only wish I knew a way to lock them out of the American conversation forever. Or better yet, turn them into such a toxic property, such a laughingstock, that nobody will dare admit to being one of them ever again.

      Saw a post on Gab today to the effect of “those who want to be left alone will always lose to those who want to win.” Which made me think…maybe, but not necessarily. Because what if the people who want to be left alone realize that they’ll only ever get what they want if they WIN?

      Over the past 10 years I’ve gone from vaguely center-left and mostly apolitical to libertarian-leaning and borderline obsessive about politics, as I’ve realized that these people will never leave us alone — unless I and like-minded folks make them. “Leave me alone” is getting closer to FOAD, and here’s some help with the AD part, by the day. I want to WIN. Because that’s the only way me and mine will ever get “just leave me alone” to happen.

      1. ” I’ve realized that these people will never leave us alone — unless I and like-minded folks make them. ”

        THIS. A thousand times, THIS. And we have NO reason to believe that they will keep their word as they claim otherwise.

        1. Agreed. Too many on the left are really not sane, and they’re aware enough to know how miserable they are and want the rest of us to be more miserable. So they can feel better.

          No, they’ll never leave us alone. It would mean they’d have to live with themselves.

            1. The Constitution was originally designed for such extremes. All those limitations on government power and all, they were features.

              The lefts and the bureaucratic state see them as bugs.

          1. There is, of course, an alternative. It’s effectively synonymous with “leave us alone”, but not voluntarily so on their part. And they seem to be trying harder every day to make it the only alternative, God help them.

      2. Yep. No matter how much they get, and however often they say, “This is all we want”, once they’ve got it they start asking for more. We see it in gun control, gender rights, speech, and more. They’re always willing to compromise on their terms, which are “we get what we want, and don’t have to give anything up to you”.

        1. It’s the old “cake” analogy. Say you have a nice round frosted cake. A lefty beggar comes around and says “give me that cake, I need it.”
          You say no.
          Well then give me half, and to get rid of the whiney git you do.
          They go off and either eat it all themselves in a fit of gluttony, or share it around with their beggar buddies.
          So back they come. “cake is all gone and you have that entire half cake all for yourself you greedy so and so!”
          So in order to get along you give them a half of a half.
          Rinse and repeat until you have nothing left but a plate with a few crumbs, they having even resorted to licking off the last few bits of frosting.
          Moral is it never ends, they are never satisfied until they have taken everything good that you have worked and sweated for.
          And even then they will not be happy, rather they will demand that you work even harder to make the things they will not themselves lift a finger to create, yet are more than willing to rob you of what they want.

  7. I’m not so much a citizen of the world as I am the world belongs to America, and I’ll go where I damn well please.

    Yeah, I know. That’s not exactly practical, and about as dumb as the citizen of the world thing. It’s an attitude I have to check when talking to people in other countries.

  8. The Left can’t laugh. I think this shows the rot more clearly than a lot of things. It’s like Ayatollah Khomeni’s “There is no joy in Islam.” Submitting to the State [or deity] is much too serious to allow frivolous things like winery tours, or basking in sunsets, or making funny captions for pictures, or reading books for pure fun. And that mindset can’t last – the person holding it will either die, or go mad, or just quit the whole thing and rebel in some way no matter how small. The bulk of Iran’s people seem to be going through numbers two and three. The US, well, most of us are at number three, even if it’s not obvious from outside.

    1. Biden has only got one ball
      Clinton has two but very small
      Schumer, we’re not so sure of
      But Liz Warren has no balls at all.

      1. BZZZZT! Cultural Appropriation! Cultural Appropriation!
        Hitler, Goering, Himmler and Goebbels are in now spin mode!

        Good one, though. 🙂

    2. Hope you’re right T’red.

      I worry if the lie is told often enough and loud enough the majority ends up believing, or at least accepting it. For example most on the left and far to many on the right refer to the 6 January protest as a riot. OK so far few of the right except the Portland fiasco as ‘mostly peaceful but let our thought revoking media shout it a bit more & I suspect fewer and fewer will argue.

      Many, if not most on our side still accept it was just, right and American to sent well over eighty billion bucks to the Ukraine. Rationale, reasonable, Constitutional?

      Many I know are number three, but based on observation, (Even though this area is probably far to the right of most of the lower forty eight.) of the population in, say, the hundred square miles around me, I wouldn’t say most,.

      Pew Research noted in April of last year there were 4.9 million criminal invaders in the U.S. They, of course used a different term to describe those folks.

      I’m becoming more convinced we’re living in an age of mass psychosis and all the sane ones (Me and you, of course, but I’m not so sure about her.) can do stock up hunker down and protect our own.

      I do agree we can overcome and take our country back, but we sure have ahellofalot to overcome.

      1. There was a riot at the US Capitol on Jan. 6. It wasn’t the only thing that happened that day, and it quite likely wasn’t perpetrated by any of the protesters, but denying that it happened is just as dumb as pretending it was the only thing that happened.

        Of course it’s right and reasonable to send support to Ukraine, it’s far better and cheaper than trying to deter a revanchist Muscovy after it’s forced Ukraine back into its orbit. As for Constitutional, national defense is an enumerated power and the money was appropriated by Congress. What more do you want?

        1. I’d agree that there was an attempted riot in DC on Jan 6. But since it was conservatives they were trying to rile up, it didn’t work very well; conservatives being too polite and non-destructive for the agitators.

          1. Eh. Partly that. For some it’s more that we aren’t easily led. Too ornery and individualistic. Trump represented us. Didn’t “lead” us.

            All too often that distinction is lost upon our political opponents, our international foes, and all other sorts what are like to underestimate us.

            1. There were times, especially at first, where I had the distinct impression that Trump had to spend a lot of energy figuring which direction he had to run to get in front of us.

              1. Trump came into office expecting to cut deals with the Democrats in Congress. If they had been willing to go along, I expect we’d have had a very different Trump presidency. He was quickly disabused of that notion however.

                1. Which shows how stupid and blinkered the left are. Just by negotiating they’d have gotten maybe 60-75% of what they wanted. But they were so incensed that their craptastic box wine soaked hanger on to an abusive male for the goodies candidate had lost that they went full insane. They really don’t even have the self control of a toddler if they did they’d have victory by now with GOPe bowing and scraping. Instead they monologued like a Bond villain and are giving the whole game away.

          2. It was a small one, and I don’t find the idea that no Trump supporters were actually involved, but it does us no good to deny reality.

            1. It was a riot in form only: the event was afaict as staged as anything BLM’s camp-followers joined in the Mostly-Peaceful™️ Summer when they walked up on pallets of unattended bricks to knock out store wundows with. What it was, I am convinced, was an entrapment dragnet to demonize Trump and felonize as many of his supporters as they could get away with, to cow anyone else heretical enough to blaspheme against the honour, nobility, and munificence of the Swamp-State, that jealous civic Ba’al that DC serves.

              1. Note that just before the demonstration/speech there were a lot of drive-by randos trying to get me to go, including offering to pay my way.
                I didn’t because I couldn’t see the point of it.

        2. It’s only “equal justice under law” if BLM / SturmAntifa / etc. get arrested, held, prosecuted AND punished identically for the far more destructive riots they conducted.

          1. Don’t forget, BLM and Antefa were the provocateurs on January 6 2021, too. They spread their plans to infiltrate the crowd and instigate violence on Socialist Media right out in the open.

            Why have none of the masked thugs seen on countless videos smashing in the doors and windows been arrested, or even identified? The ones that brought backpacks full of weapons? Why isn’t Confederate Flag Dude pining away in solitary? Why aren’t the Fibbies even looking for any of them?

            Instead, innocent people have been tormented in solitary confinement for more than a year without trials for ‘parading’. It’s the Washington Gulag.
            The U.S. Capitol is OUR house. Congresscritters are just the help.

            1. There was a comment somewhere on antisocial media about the druggie WNBA player arrested in Russia for possession I saved as just too deliciously ironic to lose:

              “I think that POTUS and the White House still need to step up and do something, because 130 days is way too long for someone who’s been wrongfully imprisoned.” – Sophie Cunningham, WNBA player, 2022/06/28

              My instinctive reaction was, “And how about ‘wrongfully imprisoned incommunicado for 18 months, with no charges filed’ “?

              1. Pointing out hypocrisy is not a fallacy. And for a number of the 2020 riots (definitely not “peaceful protests”), specifically those which involved attacks on Federal buildings, many more destructive than the 01/06 demonstration, there was no legal action taken at all. And it’s not a tu quoque to note the discrepancy.

  9. I think Sarah reflects the general mood amongst many of us. Or maybe, the general determined attitude; our mood is deadly, and serious.
    We will never quit. And we will rise.
    I believe this absolutely.
    Remember when Sarah’s blog said we would come back more American than ever?

  10. Government worked to clean up the water and air; but they seem to have ignored the concept of diminishing returns. Throwing more regulation and money doesn’t lead to more pristine air or water; it leads to the same or worse levels of clean, at far higher costs.

    1. But the returns are not diminishing for our fascists, since the actual return is power and control for them.

      1. We’ll see about that.

        I think they’ve forgotten about the Organa Corollary to the Tarkin Doctrine: The harder they squeeze, the more will slip through their fingers. They can’t grasp it all.

    2. The problem is that the laws are written to keep pollutants as low as reasonably achievable, with “reasonable” being defined by the government bureaucrats (with help from lobbyists hired by the bigger players in the industry).

      1. “Reasonable” kind of needs to be decided by consensus of those affected. I can remember when the Hudson was an open cesspool. Now you can swim in it, go boating, and eat the fish out of it.

    3. Spent 25 years in Federal service, did a lot of good work, mostly in spite of petty rules and regulations. Got dragged kicking and screaming into budget work on a far too regular basis because I was good with numbers and could talk the talk and translate back and forth between engineers and accountant types. Sorry gits could spend hours talking past each other until I spoke up and rephrased either side into language the other could comprehend.
      Thing is about government (and government contractor) budgets is there is always a significant amount carefully hidden and set aside for “overhead” which covers perks, cushy offices, multiple executive assistants, “business” trips to essential meetings that just happen to be held at resort towns. Viva Las Vegas don’tchaknow.
      It is never in the best interest of management to economize, cut back fat, declare any task complete, because that all impacts their cut.

      1. Spent 18 years at Redstone Arsenal, often cohabiting with engineers. Would get dragged to budget meetings as part of the retinue, tech pubs being an almost microscopic part of the overall budget.
        Also had a boss at one point who’d invite himself along on TDY….if there was a casino in the area. Once he made our hotel reservations…at Foxwood, in Connecticut. It actually sorta made sense, but….

        1. “…cohabiting with engineers.” As a retired EE I can confidently say that’s a dangerous practice… 🙂

  11. TxRed has it right, the Left can’t laugh or take joy in anything. I haven’t a clue as to why this is how they view the world, but it is what they do. Talk to one, they are not happy people.

    Their view of the future is of a small, mean life – everyone living in a tiny apartment, with limited (public only) transportation, eating bugs (to save the Earth!), no AC and limited power for lights (to prevent Global Warming!), wear a mask and take a monthly booster (because Science!), listening to (government moderated) CNN, and retweeting approved (Blue Checkmark only) tweets. The government will tell you what to do, because they know best. This is the world that they aspire to.

    The traditional American view has been one where the future is brighter than today. Leave us alone please, we’re busy making things better! In fact, I’ll argue that that is the defining characteristic of what makes an American – not where you came from, how long you’ve been here, the color of your skin, or what plumbing you have and how you use it. If you believe that through hard work you can make the future better, you have the American ideal. And you just want the naysayers and government (but I repeat myself) to get out of your way.

    Sadly we are in a dark place right now. Not sure who said it, but “You promised me the Moon, I got Facebook.”, sums things up. I’m optimistic that we can push through, but I expect it will be rough for awhile.

      1. The dark cloud/silver lining I see is about twenty years on, give or take. And that dark cloud is quite grim if you look deep enough into it.

        The left isn’t having many children. The ones that are conceived, many are slain in the womb (aborted). That’s why they want to take yours through corrupting them in the schools. The ones they do have or get are sterilizing themselves through dangerous trans surgeries.

        The ones having kids are generally the more conservative types. I believe that there are some leftists that might realize this, however dimly. That may explain the desire to import ever more illegal aliens.

        But it won’t be enough. The left is dying.

        It won’t be enough for us to just survive. We need to continue to grow. To fix what has been broken, even the broken people, if we can. To maintain things that work. And build a brighter future for our children and grandchildren.

        1. THIS. The future is for our children. We must make sure we do what’s right for them even if we must sacrifice ourselves along the way. They will know and remember what we stood for. Their memories of us will be part of our immortality.

        2. Yeppers! The sexual grooming of children is just a disgusting side note in the greater scheme of things. The true grooming is the indoctrination of our school children into little Marxist social justice warriors dedicated to voting early and often for the “right” people to be placed in authority over every aspect of our lives.

    1. I have a very strong sense that a lot of people want stasis – everything just so, every social role defined, everyone “knows their place.” No surprises, so changes, everything stable and predictable. And this is their goal, though they may not consciously realize it. Everyone trapped like flies in amber…and so relieved.
      (And yes, I also really hope I’m not projecting. I try to keep the possibility in mind).

      1. I fear you’re not. A thing to keep in mind is why mental institutions worked for some people (and why some people behave in prison) – regular schedules, every day, no surprises, no odd stimuli.

        You have to have a good, stable sense of self to handle change and the usual mess of a democratic republic at work. And those in the prog camp… haven’t got it.

      2. Apparently that aberration, a yen toward personal serfdom, crops up naturally; we had exactly that up until 1776, then rejected it. And now here it is again… 😦

        1. “… we had exactly that up until 1776, then rejected it.”

          Ahistorical, so I presume you are trying to make a poetic flavored point? in broad stroked, the disagreements leading up to what we know as the American Revolution were Parliament seeking to impose new rules and limitations on the colonists, interfering with self-direction that the colonies were accustomed to having.

          1. Poetic? Not really; hyperbole, perhaps. GB wanted a captive market and raw materials source, and didn’t consider the colonies to be the equivalent of Englishmen with equal rights (“new rules and limitations”). I call that effectively serfdom, which the colonists put up with for decades, until they didn’t. Not all, of course, or even most. But enough. And the Tories were willing to put up with it, hence “a yen toward personal serfdom”. A bit harsh, perhaps, but not completely out of line; YMMV.

  12. What we had in the ’50s, and I grew up in a remote suburb surrounded by corn fields, woods, and swamps, was community…Tons of it..Everyone pitched in and helped their neighbors, friends, and even complete strangers…We didn’t have much money, but we were one people, and a kind people….

      1. All I had experienced until I went to college was our community, with an occasional trip to Chicago and Indiana, and other people from smaller towns say the same…

          1. Apparently you didn’t comprehend my answer…Whatever Sarah’s contention is about the nation as a whole in the ’50s, my experience in more than my small town is utterly to the contrary, and so was the vast majority of those who actually grew up in the ’50s that there was great community..maybe in big cities is was different, but I doubt it…

  13. Doesn’t Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy apply to NASA, in spades? Input increases are swallowed up the bureaucrats, while achievement steadily decreases…

    1. Retired from there under not the best circumstances eleven years ago.
      Best I can tell, again looking from the outside with few direct contacts, they have most certainly not performed eleven years of progress. In fact SLS is from what I can tell just a modification of the Ares 5 heavy lift vehicle we were developing under the Constellation program.

  14. But whatever shall we DO without the CIA, the FBI, the ATF, the EPA, the DOJ, the Fed and the IRS?

    Could life somehow go on without them?

    1. Maybe, for a short while. The fact is that all of those agencies, except for the ATF and EPA, have important jobs that need to be done. The problem is that they’re spending all their time on a bunch of other crap that shouldn’t be done. The agencies need a thorough flame-thowering (I think I’m speaking figuratively) and specific instructions to focus only on the small number of tasks explicitly assigned to them.

      1. Implement a flat/fair tax system and the IRS as we know it goes away. Return control to the states for education and the Dept of Ed goes away. Split up the fibbies to state/local offices and the fed in the fibbies goes away.

        DOJ does have a purpose, yes. That one could well do with a series of “explain to me just what is it you do here” conversations… and subsequent eliminations of the position, not just firing of the employee. Well, that, and purging of ideological hires.

        1. Horrors! What you suggest would put hundreds of thousands of loyal government workers out of their bureaucratic positions. What would happen to the bureau of regulation for buggy whips, or the department issuing permits for tree houses and lemonade stands?

        1. I like the idea of 10 year term limits for non-active duty government employees. Not much point in spending years building an empire if you have to give it up shortly after its complete.

  15. I remember sitting with my host brother in a living room in Ohio in 1980 and speculating that the CIA and the FBI probably knew things about us we didn’t know.

    I’m sure they did. Remember how long it took you to figure you’re a Mormon man with a great rack? Well, they might have known it already forty years ago. Or a bunch of other facts of roughly the same level of veracity.

  16. “To an extent this was correct because of the …. technology of the era. ”

    And that technology is attempting to return. 10 years ago when my employer briefed the consultants on “cloud technology”, my first comment was “So we’re going back to the Mainframe and dumb terminals; we just improved the communication and storage links enough to mostly overcome the performance disadvantages of centralized hardware.”

    I haven’t seen anything since that changes my mind, and that’s precisely why I’m obsessive over how much they can potentially screw up EVERYONE’S life with it. And virtually any minion you annoy can implement it with a few keystrokes.

    1. Yeah. but it is still not the same, Steve. This is pre-computer, pre-cell phones, etc.
      I’m the one who is suspicious of the cloud in this family, which is weird.

        1. The cloud is just someone else’s computer.

          With someone else controlling the access, security, and backups. Um. No. Hell No. Luckily both hubby and son say “What she says.” Then I get accused of having Tech-Phobia. My answer? Walking away mumbling, “Sure. After 35 years programming. 100%.” pause “Idiot.” FYI. I know I’m not the only tech person who believes this. I’m more “moderate”. I’m willing to work with MS Windows (not MS Apps, I’m cheap). Not building my own customized systems. (I’m lazy.)

          1. +1

            The only ‘benefit’ to stuff on the cloud seems to be access to that stuff from lots of places.

            I don’t do that.

            1. The primary benefit is cost. That’s not cost for you and I, mind you. That’s cost for businesses. If you’re part of a large enterprise that needs huge dedicated server farms to house all of the data needed to keep the business running, that gets really expensive. You need the servers. You need people to operate the servers. You need backup servers in case the usual servers suddenly go down. You have to consider backup locations. Etc…

              Or you can pay a fee to Amazon Web Services (AWS) to house all of that data for you at a fraction of the cost. Economies of scale mean that they can do that, and still turn a profit.

              The primary benefits to you and I are the ability to access stuff from anywhere, and the ability to have up to date backups that will survive if some natural calamity flattens your house – including your hard drive, and the backup storage devices that you had stored somewhere else in the house.

              1. Yeah, this. My home server updates a file on S3 (AWS file storage) every x minutes, and I have a lambda (AWS free-floating code snippet) that looks at it every x minutes and if it’s more than x minutes old will trigger a text message to my phone telling me my home server is offline. So if I’m away from home and I lose power (or worse), I’ll know about it in at least 2x-1 minutes.

                That’s on top of storing files on Google Drive so I can access them from multiple computers regardless of location.

                But I’m not going to install any home automation that would impact the physical security. Nobody is ever going to be able to stand in front of my window and shout, “Alexa! Unlock the front door!”

              2. Another benefit is when you only need CPU capacity intermittently. The U needs a number of servers to handle student course registration, but outside of peak season they’d get little or no use. The U created containers to handle the registration and have Amazon (I think) spin up a lot of instances of them in the weeks before school starts.

                1. I’m not sure I follow?

                  AWS makes a lot of money for Amazon, with the division making roughly half of Amazon’s operating profits in recent years. AWS earns that money through fees that customers pay. Using AWS requires turning your data over to another company. If AWS cost more, or even the same, as what customers were paying to store their own data, they wouldn’t use AWS. They’d handle their data storage themselves. IT is a particularly popular target for corporate cost-cutters since the department doesn’t directly produce profits for the company. If AWS wasn’t saving companies money, companies wouldn’t use it.

                  1. The Reader saw a lot of ‘this will cost less’ justifications out of corporate cost centers over his 40 years at a Great Big Defense Contractor. Most of them didn’t pass the sniff test. Don’t make the mistake of assuming cost comparisons are fair and accurate inside a corporation when promotions are on the line. The Reader admits he hasn’t run the numbers himself, but the sheer profitability of AWS and Microsoft’s cloud business makes him wonder.

                    1. At the non-profit org I work for, we moved some of our servers (that I was partially responsible for maintaining) over to AWS hosting last year. It costs us a little more to host on AWS than to host them ourselves, but for us the big win is that it frees up a couple people to focus on other things instead of server maintenance. Essentially, we’re paying Amazon to do the server maintenance for us, freeing up developers to work on new features in the time that we used to spend on maintenance.

                  2. It all depends, having done this for years. There are several factors, running a data center is extremely capital intensive. If you concentrate computers together the power infrastructure and redundant cooling gets expensive fast. But there are economies of scale when you get to thousands of square feet and a megawatt or more of power. The scale of a AWS or Apple data center.

                    If you are a small business running lots of servers costs a lot in proportion to the hourly flexibility, and the costs are arranged to make you a captive (getting data in is free, moving data out is not).

                    For growing companies the elasticity truly saves money.

                    But biggest of all, Captiva Expenses VS Operational expenses. The tax code rewards doing everything as an operational expense. Therefore renting wins instead of owning for items that depreciate between three and five years.

                    In short, while the Communists are trying to take over the world, the Banking cartels did during the progressive Era and have setup all of the incentives to keep us fiscal dependents on their programs.

            1. This is… accurate. At least as far as I am able to understand. I do actually have that printer somewhere. It even works, or did the last time I used it.

              I have never been enamoured of the alexa/ring doorbell/IOT crapola. May not be in the IT field anymore, but I already know too much.

              1. Pretty much ditto; my family nickname is “dinosaur”, I have WiFi only under protest (but still have to maintain the home network), and a flipphone is fine; it’s a telephone, dammit, not a 3″ movie screen or a way to walk into traffic! 🙂

            2. I’m fairly close to the programmer camp. My computer basically gets updated when it can’t run games anymore (And I stick it out with long load times and occassional slow down MUCH longer than most people), and I never understood why anyone would want to get those most recent Windows versions. If I didn’t game, or if games stopped using more and more processor power (for reasons I’m not entirely sure need to exist) I’d probably be using a much old computer.

              However, my computer speakers are still the original speakers I got for my would be considered MY first computer (As compared to my families) from my friend something like 20 years ago now. They still work, mostly, so I see no need to replace them.

              1. I got a new cell phone when the old one wouldn’t load the new Google Voice ap. Which I needed for complicated reasons I don’t need to go into, but I missed the old phone within hours. I haven’t updated the new one yet, and choose not to.

                1. We get new phones as the three of ours start dying (battery has to be charged two or 3x’s/day) or breaks (cracked screen or washing machine are the two phone killers in our house). This generally happens on average 5 years. Average has dropped since we can’t replace batteries now. We were very unhappy when we were unable to get plain old phones for just phoning and messaging. Yes, okay. Will admit Waze is an improvement, generally. Do use it, some as a computer. But not often due to screen size. Hate typing on it.

                  1. Just a note… You can replace the battery in many new phones; I did it for my wife’s Galaxy S7 when the original swelled up. A bit of a PITA, and finicky, but not really complicated, and no special tools needed beyond the plastic “spudger” that seems to come with replacement batteries. And you can still get even flipphones; I had to replace mine last year when 3G was no longer supported. Couldn’t disable texting like the old one, unfortunately, but “Delete Thread” without reading the annoyance still works.

                    Can’t help with the washing machine issue… 🙂

                    1. Oy… That setup is like installing a complete garage, complete with grease pit and hydraulic lift, to change a tire. Leave it to Apple to figure a way to separate the user from even more money… 😦

                      Changing the battery on the Samsung required:
                      1) The phone
                      2) A replacement battery (Then ~ $20; now ~ $13)
                      3) A plastic “spudger” to remove the case (included with the battery)

                      Total time: About 45 minutes.

              1. Wags hands. I do online banking. Allows me to monitor better/sooner/faster (plus our bank anyway, doesn’t charge to pay bills, and if a check pays the mailing cost). I’ve caught incorrect credit charges before they posted (I don’t complain until/unless they actually post), let alone before the statement is cut with them on them. I have the apps of the critical ones on my phone. The reason I have my phone with security enabled (not finger print or face recognition).

                I also download to Quicken (really need to check out other options). BUT will NOT use Quicken Online; nope, and no.

            3. I have a slightly more modern printer, but every time someone suggests getting a ‘smart’ anything in my house, I say, “You can nope yourself right out my door, sir.” I told my nephews when they brought their echo or whatever it was called here from their dad’s place that the only way it was coming in my house was in a lead-lined box inside an electrified copper cage.

            4. This, 1000 times this. I’ve seen and worked on IOT code and you do NOT want someone else controlling your stuff. Be it a clever hacker or an annoying government (c.f. the issue with thermostats being overridden) you don’t want them there.

          2. I’ve been saying for over thirty years (words to the effect) “People who put their trust in tech/computers have little-to-no experience of them.” Which I learned doing peer tech support on CompuServe.

            1. My BIL is a tech nerd, that’s how he makes his living, and loves everything tech. Seriously. He’ll get his clients all the newest and shiniest, but for his work he uses multiple VPN’s, downloads portable versions of everything, and also has multiple virtual PC’s that he runs through various filters.

              He doesn’t see the disconnect.

      1. Sarah, we’re SF, so we have a mindset to ask where things could go.

        I’m a software tester, so I have a more jaundiced eye. And the mainframe performed the same functions as a file cabinet, which you could lock away the contents of, and only a relative few had access. It just let you look through a bigger filing cabinet, and do it faster.

      1. As many companies are finding out. However, it let some CIO reduce costs for the quarter, so…..

        1. And how many times has QNAP fell over in the past few months? Or the other one that I’m forgetting just now?


          Try and tell that to some non-techy mid-boss managerial type, though.

    2. I said the same when the push for everyone to use ‘thin clients’ started in the early oughts.

      1. There’s an argument to be made there, but the real breakpoint IMHO was when pretty much all you needed was a web browser. A Chromebook is literally a terminal without any real OS or software of its own. You pretty much can’t even turn the sucker on without a connection to the net.

          1. In other words, the cloud/mainframe paradigm doesn’t actually work well for the typical user. It sounds good on paper, which is why the idea keeps coming up, but as processing power at the “terminal” gets cheaper customers prefer to pull capabilities to their machine.

            As I’ve said before, the real breakthrough in IoT will be when there’s an affordable home server that can do the things, like speech recognition and synthesis, that are currently being done on the Amazon and Google datacenters.

            1. Aye. There are many, many things I’d love to do with “home automation” but I REFUSE until it is HOME automation. That is, ALL the gear (save the hydroelectric dam or fission reactor plant or…) is under MY and ONLY MY control. No rent-seeking control-freak corporations (Amazon, Apple, Google) need apply. Don’t care what what they SAY… seen what eventually they all DO.

              1. It’s doable now, check out Hubitat, at v least that is what is controlling my house, though you have to use zwave, lutron, or zigbee devices so they can’t phone home. All of the wifi devices seem set on phoning home and are a likely point to be hacked from I believe.

                1. I thought I saw something Open Source a while back, but cannot find it again… AND it had ZERO requirements for outside-of-LAN connection. And, yes, for Home Automation a LAN with NO internet connectivity at all is what I would consider a minimum requirement. Anything that even looks home-automation on the ‘net should be a honeypot.

                  1. Hubitat doesn’t require a Internet connection. It can use one, but my setup doesn’t use one. But I do have to avoid WiFi connected devices because that all seem to be designed to connect to the manufacturer for control purposes. Which also means a that they could be used to bypass your firewall and do anything….

                    Other local control options are OpenHAB (Java based), or Home Assistant. Either of which can run exclusively on a local Raspberry Pi type computer.

                  2. Home Assistant is another one that runs on open source and is run locally.
                    I’m running it for my lights, fan, and pool pump control currently with a mix of Ikea zigbee devices and Shelly relays.
                    The Shellys are nice – they are a little mini-puck (UL approved) that goes in the switch box behind the normal switch – the switch and load are wired to the puck – the normal light switch still controls the load, but you can also control via wifi.

                2. You may have to redefine “internet connection” some, though. My employer was very proud of setting up a cloud for one of the larger auto holding companies in the DFW area (about 70% of them, all major brands) that had a “diagnostic module” wired in that essentially had it’s own cell phone that was provided minutes to communicate information about how the car was operating and “maintenance reminder data” back to the mother ship and the customer wouldn’t have to be bothered with setting up a cell phone account.

                  Authorization was covered by “access to diagnostic info” by their service department in the lease / warranty language. I can easily see that being extended to other devices.

              2. “Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.”
                – Arthur Weasley, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

              3. Rent seeking control freak corporations? You don’t trust our techie overlords? 0_o

                I had to get a new computer for work. There’s a bunch of stuff that won’t work without an internet connection, even the silly card games are online. Which is fine with me, I have my old computer, it just won’t work with the systems needed for work–which are also internet based. Half the programs require a subscription, but there are free alternatives. So I happily suffer with GIMP, Libre Office, and a handful of others.

                I’m looking forward to the day that all computers come pre-loaded with direct internet access. Likely won’t happen, but we have the technology to do it.

              4. I have a Raspberry Pi with the WiFi setup as router for the automation gadgets and the wired network for terminal use (software downloads, etc…). There is no routing between them. It mostly works, but the Roomba gets angry, which is fine because it’s a horrible vacuum cleaner.

                I’m running OpenHAB, but I don’t much care for it. It’s complicated and the documentation is awful. I’ll check out Hubitat (replying out-of-order).

            2. If Dragon can make a good speech to text program (and they seem to have done so), then it can be done with home devices as well.

              1. Heck, I was watching Webex convert text to speech this morning. Took me a minute to realize it wasn’t someone typing the text, but the computer doing it.

  17. (Slightly OT, but maybe not.) It suddenly occurred to me yesterday that in this new age, where government can conjure up multiple trillions of dollars to throw at just about anything, talk of taxes is ridiculous.

    Our new Progressive government needs to get right to the end stage and stop pretending that the tax dollars of American citizens are needed for anything at all. Set us free. No taxes at all. Cat’s out the bag; the government has now shown that it can and will invent money from nothing in limitless quantities. (Because it totally does work like that.)

    And that being the case, why do they keep acting like taxes are necessary, like we all have to pitch in and share the pain, when they’ve got a magic wand they could wave at any time?

    Answer: To punish everyone, because the “progressive” elite are sadistic, humanity-hating bastards who could solve all the world’s problems, but simply don’t want to.

      1. Aye, the result is called Inflation. And Inflation is one of the most ‘regressive’ taxes there is, outdone in regressiveness by War and other such active attacks on…. everything.

    1. That’s pretty much the end state of Magical Modern Monetary Theory, isn’t it?

      Taxes are just a means of regulating the people by financial carrot and stick.

      1. In MMT, as I understand it, taxes are the way to pull money out of the economy to control inflation.

        1. Problem is, the government can only tax the people who have or earn money. You can’t tax the deadbeats, ’cause they got nuttin’. Then, the ones with the most money use bribery political contributions to influence the laws in their favor. Taxes wind up falling most heavily on the productive members of society, while the idle rich and the idle poor get a free ride.
          “Can’t you explain it to them?”

          “I’d rather explain calculus to a cow. At least the cow wouldn’t waste my time with a lot of stupid-ass questions.”

          1. Which is why I want to try my “why don’t they just free us” argument on a prog sometime. Yes, it’s insane and could never work, but a lot of people seem to think it does. And yet if it does, why do they keep voting for people who could fix things with their magic money but never will? If it convinced at least one of them that the leaders they trust actually hate them and aren’t worth voting for, it’d be worth it.

    2. The “progressive elites” may indeed be humanity-hating bastards, but they certainly cannot solve all the world’s problems. What they are actually doing is mucking about with what does work and creating more problems.

    3. Actually.. that’s not as crazy as you might think.

      IF I understand it, the value of money is essentially ‘worth of country present & future divided by number of dollars’.

      Printing a % of the money supply would, in theory, tax everyone equally.

      Right now they’re double dipping by first collecting your income and then still printing more. If you went to a straight system of simply printing money, you would not only ensure that everyone is equally taxed, but you would save immense amounts of money & effort by removing the need for the IRS!

      1. If money is created out of nothing faster than the worth of country present and future increases, the value of money will decline. Every generation or two, some country or other other rediscovers this principle, usually after the value of its money has declined to zero.

      2. I have been thinking about this, eliminating the IRS and just devaluing the dollar to collect revenue as a flat tax, as well for awhile. Recently I had someone point out to me that money printing was not only a flat tax but also a wealth tax. I’m trying to think through the implications,

        Oh, I just realized, I think it might be impossible, the reason that we use the dollar is because we pay taxes with it…. People would switch to a different currency if the dollar became too inflationary. In some ways People already try to store wealth in non dollar investments because it has become so inflationary.

        1. As Sir PTerry has stated it: Food will get you through times with no money better than money will get you through times with no food.

          A lot of people are beginning to store wealth in tradeable goods like dehydrated food stuffs, tools that are not easily made at home, and freedom seeds. “I’ll trade you a flat of toilet paper, a bottle of betadine, and a #10 of cocoa powder for a box of FMJ.”

    4. Taxes have for a long time been designed to influence behavior. Sin taxes to increase the amount of money needed to buy Alcohol, Cigarettes, and even Poker Cards.

      Growing up in Alabama, they would put the stamp tax on Poker sized playing cards but not Bridge sized cards. 😂

    5. This has been driving me crazy for a few years. The Government demonstrates that it’s just willing to print money, en masse, without any consideration of consequences. And yet they still bother with taxes. There’s a dozen combinations of ignorance and malice that can explain the apparent contradiction, and I suspect all of them are used by someone in the establishment to justify this behavior.

      All I can say for sure, however, is that it is the combination (or in rare cases, sole proprietor) of ignorance or malice. And it’s proof that the government is not fit for purpose.

    6. MMT is just a rehash of Lenin.

      Grind the middle class between the twin millstones of taxation and inflation.

      Yup. MMT is just regurgitated Communism.

  18. I am not a member of any organized religion – I am a Jew. H/t to Will Rogers. My congregation was recently looking for a new rabbi. At a board meeting, I said we have to make sure our new rabbi understands that we have a lot of fun being Jews.

    1. Nicely done Sir, I used to say something similar “I am not a member of any organized religion I’m a Congregationalist” Will Rogers was right.

  19. Call me a sentimental, approaching old age(I’ll have 83 years behind me in less than a month.), fool. but I do look back on the fifties (In my teens.) and sixties (Building a life, a home and family.) as a golden age. Yes the government was a growing monster but back then the doings in Washington had no or little effect on our day to day lives. Yep, ignoring the monster’s growth led, sadly, to today, but I still think we had it great back then.

  20. The reason I call this the Golden Age has nothing at all to do with politics. With parents born in rural South Dakota and very rural Colorado in the 20’s to use as a baseline. We’ve always had clean running tap water on demand. Electricity at the flips of a switch. Verhicles and tractors vs. horses. It was the change in infrastructure that made it a golden age. This totally discounts advances in medicine and other realms. If cities now have trouble with water and states with electricity it is caused by politics not fixed by it.

    1. I’ve said it before. I’ve seen the Montana cabin that grandma and grandpa lived in with a three year old and a newborn when grandpa worked in the mines.

      No. Just No. Thank you, No. (The snow shelter at Gold Lake is bigger, and a lot nicer. Neither have running water, and require going outside to use the outhouse. OTOH the Montana cabin has/had year round running water, down across the road, had to break the ice on the creek stream in the winter).

      We go camping. From backpacking to vehicle tent, and RV (fully self contained). The last is much more comfortable, but still not as nice as a hotel, or home. Note, even vehicle camping in campgrounds, anymore, have flush toilets and even if not that had drinkable running water infrastructure.

  21. The “Civil War” (quotes per my military history professor), now there was a collapse! Twenty-five thousand dead in my home state alone (which should suffice anyone for reparations). Some churches in the Scots-rich counties didn’t record any (infant) baptisms for several years.

  22. The more I learn about WWII, the more I find myself thinking that the side who won it won, not because they were the most organized and centralized, but because they were the ones who were the most able to have things bubble up past the central authorities.

    Take the air war. A huge factor in it was the octane race. Germany and Japan were running on automotive gas for the majority of the war. 87 octane, with limited 100 octane stuff that had some issues.

    The Allies started the war with 100 octane gas, and were able to put 150 octane+. An R-2800 can put out about 2000hp on 100 Octane gas. I want to say it’s limited to 1200 on 87 octane. On 150 octane with a water injection kit, that engine can push 2800hp.

    Why did the Allies have 100 octane, and the basic industry to push octane ratings to the moon? Because Jimmy Doolittle arm twisted and horsetraded until Shell put out a small lot production run of 100 octane gas for high performance engine makers to play with. And US aviation engine makers started making engines designed to use it, which gave Shell demand, and in a loop until the US was ramping up a high performance engine industry.

    The USAAF was trying to build 1000hp hyper engines at the time, and probably would have completely bypassed 100 octane gas entirely.

    Ultimately, that one man’s personal quest is the reason the Allies enjoyed a massive engine performance advantage over the Axis fighters for much of WWII. Even Britain may well have lost the Battle of Britain had they been running their Spitfires and Hurricanes off of the 87 octane gas they were during the fall of France.

    It’s the same thing with the atomic bomb program, the US drop tank and escort fighter effort, and so on and so on. Many of the Allies’ successes were in spite of rather than because of the centralized bureaucracy.

    And likewise, many of the Axis’s failures were due to them being unable to break out of their pre-war assumptions and procedures. The Kaga and Akagi were as severely hit as they were in large part because their commander kept switching weapon loadouts to have the optimum weapons loaded for the targets they were going after, whereas a more flexible commander would likely have sent the attack flight out with bombs when the ships were spotted. Or both Germany and Japan’s disinterest in coordinated air defenses.

        1. This is definitely a lesson I’ve learned from playing games with ‘rewind’ features and those without. You contrast these hypothetical ‘perfect’ runs with the flawed ones where you make mistakes here and there, and it draws into sharp contrast how important not making mistakes, or knowing how to deal with your mistakes, is compared to theoretical play where you get everything broadly right.

          One single simple mistake that is easy to rewind can ruin a whole campaign. Sometimes, it doesn’t take much to bring everything toppling down around you.

          1. Fancy what a game of chess would be if all the chessmen had passions and intellects, more or less small and cunning; if you were not only uncertain about your adversary’s men, but a little uncertain also about your own; if your knight could shuffle himself on to a new square by the sly; if your bishop, at your castling, could wheedle your pawns out of their places; and if your pawns, hating you because they are pawns, could make away from their appointed posts that you might get checkmate on a sudden. You might be the longest-headed of deductive reasoners, and yet you might be beaten by your own pawns. You would be especially likely to be beaten, if you depended arrogantly on your mathematical imagination, and regarded your passionate pieces with contempt. Yet this imaginary chess is easy compared with the game a man has to play against his fellow-men with other fellow-men for his instruments.
            George Eliot

      1. As the amazing restoration of the 2nd Amendment progresses ALL our rights are becoming stronger. A well armed armed society, whether or not there is any formal threat, is something no political animal can ignore.
        Having the ability to resist means not having to… as long as there is a perception of power held in reserve keeping would be tyrants at bay.

    1. Someone I read regularly recently had a blog post about ‘American Exceptionalism’ and how the idea has been.. perverted .. as if it meant the Laws of Nature do not apply. But that’s NOT it, of course. The Laws of Nature ALWAYS apply. The key is recognizing them. If you ‘take your foot off the brake’ (the brake is centralization, control-freakery, autocracy, totalitarianism, tyranny{1}…) things can Really Get Going.

      {1} Tyranny can be by a single tyrant, a cabal, or an unrestrained Majority. The GENIUS of the Founders was to recognize that and try to compensate for it. Ratfink wanna-be tyrants are screwing that up.. for now. But… Laws of Nature are patient… but also unrelenting and often VICIOUS. (See that poem about Copybook Headings…)

      1. The penalty for stupidity is death, imposed by the universe itself. Some idiots might escape punishment, for a time, but in the end the universe will win.
        The government can mandate stupidity, but they can’t make it not be stupid.

          1. I’ve got over 100, some drawn from many sources, others I made up myself. Glad somebody appreciates them!
            “Flesh wound? Yer arm’s off!”

      2. The Gods of the Copybook Headings are not vicious. They’re just (not merciful), patient and have no empathy or sense of humor. And “do-overs” are Right Out.

    2. the P-51 is another example – just over 100 days from drawing board to flying prototype and then surge into production. I’ve read that by the end of 1945 there was a complete P-51 being produced every hour and ready to fly.

      1. Yes. It wasn’t really 100 days from requirement to prototype; it was apparently a design the lead designer had been working on privately for some time, and the tender for P-40s just gave them the opportunity to go for it.

        The Mosquito was another private venture design: de Havilland was convinced he could pack a heavy bomber payload into a fast wooden twin, so he just went and did it, and it turned out to be one of theost important British strike planes of the war.

        Same sort of thing happened with the FW-190: Kurt Tank pretty much decided that the German fighter concept, while pretty like a fine race horse was about as suited for warfare, and set about making, in his own words, a war horse of a fighter. And the only reason he was able to go do it was because he was using engines that the Luftwaffe saw as useless bomber engines, for an aviation company that didn’t really make anything critical to the war.

        And even after the 190 was deemed the Butcher Bird, the LW command just never saw any reason to have BMW integrate any of their high altitude superchargers into the BMW 801 or its varients. Tank had to do another end run around the bureaucrats, along with Jumo, to get a high altitude capable engine into the 190. And by then it was to late to do Germany any good. As I recall, the FW-190D’s only first started showing up late 1944, and wasn’t available in number even by Operation Bodenplatte. And after that it didn’t matter.

    3. The Kaga and Akagi were as severely hit as they were in large part because their commander kept switching weapon loadouts to have the optimum weapons loaded for the targets they were going after, whereas a more flexible commander would likely have sent the attack flight out with bombs when the ships were spotted. Or both Germany and Japan’s disinterest in coordinated air defenses.

      The “aircraft stuck on the flight deck created a firestorm” history is false and based on an eyewitness report that isn’t backed up by anything else, and in fact directly contradicts other information.

      1. I’d be interested in seeing that. The information I’ve seen was that it wasn’t the aircraft, but rather the double stacks of bombs and torpedoes all being out and about that caused the problem.

        But I’m open to other explanations. Dog of war is eternal, and doubly so when the core evidence is at the bottom of the Pacific…

      1. It was big elsewhere too. Recall where Supermarine got their start. The British even neon the Schneider Trophy outright. Jimmy Doolittle was one of the pilots in those races.

        But as near as I can tell, he was the only one who thought that that sort of engine performance could and should be mass produced.

  23. Let’s face it. Every one of us has an earth suit with an expiration date. We may not, individually, be the best at anything; but we’re a darn sight better than anything else the world offers.

    We’re white, black, brown, red, and yellow, by some standards. We’re meek, mild, strident, coarse, polished, and follow many different faiths, including those who claim to follow none but their own.

    We have no masters, no royalty, and no code but the Constitution.

    But we do have two middle fingers to show to those who wish to enslave us.

    And be damned to anyone who wants to take away our freedoms. Though I’ll recommend we at least give em a Bible to read the night before we hang the traitor. Assuming they surrender before shooting at us.

    1. And a little reminder from Ralph Bakshi on how to defeat evil:

      But please don’t take it out of context and assume I am advocating this type of action in the present circumstances, s’il vous plaît.

  24. I think that the illusion of hyper-competent central planning is the 18th-20th Century version of the Divine Right of Kings. That if the right chanting is done, the proper sacrifices of goats and virgins to TQM and ISO9000, and the right chain of command is used to beat the proles…you can get miracles done.

    Except…when you realize it, a lot of things happen in spite of the new Church of Industry. Very few inventions come out of the big companies, or if they do its improvements on a process and not a stunning improvement.

    Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of things that still need that centralized planning touch. There’s a lot of industries that you have to be that organized.

    It just doesn’t scale or translate in other places. Like the management of human beings outside of those very specific areas.

    (And, on the subject of Artemis/Space Launch System…this is just a more cowardly version of the DIRECT Launch System. Which was developed as a concept in early ’00s. Which could have flown before the Shuttle was retired. Which could have been steadily improved. And I’m still angry that Elon Musk got away from the BFR and went for the Starship program.

    (I’m especially pissed at Richard Nixon, who did everything he could to kill the space program because of his hatred of John F. Kennedy. For some…reasonable reasons, but still.)

    1. Had Nixon (or his techs..) been aware of what a small RF device could do to mess up tapes, and dealt with it, maybe that ratfink Teddy K could have shunted aside and done less damage. Though, alas, still too late for the poor gal.

    2. So I’ve been thinking about this since the OP, and it occurs to me (no great stretch) that governmental forms echo the larger society. Our original highly decentralized government was suited to a … highly decentralized, low communication, agrarian nation.

      For about one saeculum (Strauss & Howe 4-beat cycle). After that, increasing transportation and communication infrastructure begat (and was begat by) the sort of Captains of Industry! economy of the 1870s-1920s (“robber baron” is an ahistorical slur). The government was much more attuned to the needs of Big Capital and industrial scale freedom, but hadn’t yet really created itself as a self-perpetuating class.

      That eventually gave rise to the Highly-Regulated Vertically-Integrated Giant Hierarchical Corporation that was the norm from, yup, about 1925 through more or less now. The expectation of life employment has faded (but then every saeculum’s system starts breaking down 1/2-3/4 of the way through) but the Big Corporation is still king even if ever more shaky on the throne. Government became Giant and Hierarchical at the same time, with expectations of life employment and self-perpetuation and being Too Big To Fail.

      So I don’t necessarily blame FDR. That economy and form of government had started before him (coughHoovercough), and now, one saeculum later, it’s about done.

      What government will be like in the more decentralized, makerspace, 3d-printed, gig economy will be like when the old form finally dies and the new one becomes normal remains to be seen, but it won’t be the decentralized low-communication agrarian-optimized “original” version.

      (I’ve been browsing through the website of a military historian who wrote analyses of the Siege of Gondor and Helm’s Deep from a military history perspective. One of the things he repeats a lot is that militaries also reflect the underlying social structure. What’s the Army going to look like if the larger society becomes less hierarchical?)

      1. I suspect the Army is going to split into three major philosophies-“smart bombs and snake eaters” (special forces/light infantry), “operations other than war” (think “occupation forces”/MPs with teeth) and a third faction that tries to get whatever it can from the first two.

        Because nobody’s going to study war no more and require things like, oh, a new MBT design for Brigade Combat Teams or such.

        1. Replying here, because this stupid thing doesn’t let me comment on the front panel, and balzacq’s comment is too far down.

          Yes, what you mention is what started my noodling.
          BUT the bare-bones constitution is better suited for the post-mass-industrial society than the thing we have now.
          I blame FDR because the more I learn of him, the more I want a time machine.

        2. Right, sorry, forgot that part. Here you go:

          Siege of Gondor: (6 parts)

          Helm’s Deep: acoup DOT blog/2020/05/01/collections-the-battle-of-helms-deep-part-i-bargaining-for-goods-at-helms-gate/ (8 parts) (tl;dr Saruman was an amateur)

          Note that these are mostly based on what we see in the films, with blockquoted asides on how the books were different.

  25. The ‘Blue Model’ isn’t holding up well! Like the architecture from the same ideological era, the ‘blue model’ has its telltale rotting concrete/rusting rebar age lines.

    Post-Blue-Model, we will have many years of rebuilding to do! And it doesn’t need to be suck-ugly!

  26. All right, I just read in the Daily Mail about this guy who got out of prison for security fraud, moved into his daughter’s dorm at Sarah Lawrence, and persuaded all these rich girls that they had harmed him and therefore needed to pay him back by becoming expensive prostitutes. For over ten years.

    What. The. Heck.

    The NXIVM cult at least was tricking people with religious trappings.

  27. Love ya, gal. Things are falling apart and we stand ready to put it back together fueled by the disdain we have for ‘experts’. Your neighbors are experts in the American way, not one single government employee is.

  28. What does the addition of tens of millions of heavily Indio Mexicans and Central Americans do to that ethnocultural substrate you’re counting on?
    Legal or illegal is irrelevant in this context.

    1. Two parts. First off, is the question of nature vs. nuture, and how much cultural osmosis they’ll have offering to alter that nuture.

      But second… if America is made up of people who don’t like being told what to do… then illegal immigrants are certainly in that category. Not in the best way, but being willing to abandon your family and homeland for money is certainly capitalistic…

      If we can start protecting the boarders and doing some proper deportation, then perhaps we can be left with only the good kind of rule-breakers. I guess we’ll see.

    2. They assimilate the culture in a generation or two, it’s why they have to keep importing them.
      They are coming here for specific things, easier money and a safer environment than back home. When things start to get worse they will leave for other countries with easier money and a safer environment. The vast majority absolutely did not come to wage war against the locals as unvalued cannon fodder.

      Just some thoughts I’ve had about this.

      Obviously there are individuals that would do things differently but if we are concerned with the sheer quantity I think that will resolve itself.

    3. Actually this is an interesting thought, and one I’ve pursued. In principle I’m opposed to South of the border (And mass immigration from the North too, if it happened) immigration because it’s easy and easy to make temporary, therefore acculturation is almost impossible.
      However, I think you’re grossly OVERESTIMATING numbers. It’s not immigration, so much, as back and forth with illegal trade of various kinds. And don’t forget la grande salida under Obama, and I bet already ongoing now.
      On top of that, consider a lot of that immigration has nothing to do with indios, but is largely Venezuelan, which is largely Northern European crossed with Caribbean black and Indian (BOTH heavily crossed with French.)
      From the racial point of view? It means bloody nothing. Race is a phantom of a mirage. Under the microscope, barring rare hereditary diseases, most of what you get is Neanderthal vs. homo-sap vs. whatever the other subraces of human long ago subsumed into homo sap.
      Well, the Venezuelans, which is by far the biggest wave coming in, are coming because commies have destroyed their home. I don’t think Brandon gets what he thinks he gets.

      1. Under the microscope, barring rare hereditary diseases, most of what you get is Neanderthal vs. homo-sap

        I forget which book it was, but something I read recently about human genetics said (paraphrasing) that if aliens were to create a human taxonomy, they would find six distinctive groups in Africa and one group everywhere else.

              1. That’s usually a “somebody died” or “I just got funding for my BS grant proposal and now I have to produce something.” Wait and see what the classification data is and compare it to other known remains, correlate what you can. Everything else is just guesswork.

                Granted, it can be guesswork that has some basis in fact. But some of us remember Piltdown Man, Meade, et al, and look at such rumors and even declarations with a jaundiced eye.

                Our sample size of the past is ridiculously small. This tends to lead to leaps of logic and wild claims. I just want to see the physical evidence. More remains to add to the total and be studied are always good things. What anthropologists make of said remains, however…

          1. I think the argument was that both Neanderthal and Denisovan merely added “local flavor” to the one big non-African group, so genetically diverse are the six African groups from it and from each other.

            1. For instance, apparently there’s genetic traces of another Neanderthal/Denisovan-level divergent group in West Africa, but no remains have been found. And the Khoisan are as different genetically from everyone else as it is possible to be without being off the main human stream.

            2. yeah and I do get that. I also get that, ultimately, we have no idea what genes do what. It’s very much in its infancy.
              BUT point taken that appearance isn’t race, and never was.

              1. I have crowed, como um galo, for years, that *race is a medieval construct of pseudoscience, like phrenology and physiognomy for identifying criminals and low lifes. I am still not president.

      2. “Race is a phantom of a mirage”

        Correct; there is one race, Homo sapiens sapiens, with minor differences between populations.

          1. Or dogs, to an even greater extent, at least morphologically. Human populations vary globally (with those in the original homeland, Africa, being the most genetically diverse overall, as should be expected), but not even close to the extent of different subspecies. For additional confusion 🙂 , see:


            Of course, in humans it’s usually taken to mean “different from me”, and usually “inferior”. 😦

    4. Let’s not forget the left are not only racists, but stupid racists. They think “Latin” is a race, not a culture. It’s bound to confuse their thinking.
      But what they’re doing is NOT what they think they’re doing.

      1. The day we finally toss the whole concept of “race” as it’s used to describe humans today in the dustbin of history cannot come too soon. It is a scientifically useless concept. Culturally and by extension politically, all it does is create problems that can be “solved” by stealing freedoms from the individual and assigning them unConstitutionally to government.

        It belongs right there beside the concepts of pregnant “men,” flavour pronouns, and taxing the rich and not expecting them to pass that cost on as concepts that need to die in a fire.

  29. I’m sorry, I’m used to central heating, air conditioning, and indoor plumbing. Rebuilding will be a bitch and l don’t wanna. The only real button to push on me is that l REALLY don’t want the rebuild to fall to my grandchildren, though that might be best for all involved. That thing about the value we place on free stuff and such. Never did enjoy the nineteenth century that much, grumble grumble.

    1. We’re not going back that far, except for maybe a couple of years of “uncertain” supply. Even Venezuela hasn’t, and they never had what we have. Pfui. That’s bad fiction.

      1. OTOH, QE2’s mentally-challenged eldest is named Charles. And there’s doubt in some circles if his sons were really his.

        Charles I stealing and hoping to sell the Crown Jewels helped kick off the Third English Civil War.

        Charles II, aside from warring with the Dutch, acknowledged at least 12 illegitimate children by various mistresses, but left no legitimate children and was succeeded by his brother, James.

        “Third time’s the charm”, amirite?

        1. Well, his other given names are Arthur, Phillip, and John. Two of those are right out for historical reasons, and Arthur . . . No. Just no. Not for him.

  30. According to Strategy Page’s Military History calendar 8 September is “Welcome to the Party, Pal” day (well, perhaps I editorialized a bit): in 1948 a “British De Havilland 08 fighter” flew faster than sound.

    1. May she rest in peace.

      King Charles III, and may God help him. He has been doing well on his estates, and Camilla seems to keep him from doing too many stupid things. And yes, it is a ceremonial post. But… I don’t know how he will be, as a king.

      But this seems like Interesting Times for those in the UK. I hope this Liz Truss makes a good PM for them, because it is going to be a heck of a cold dark winter in Europe.

      1. If Britain still has a monarchy in ten years, it will be in spite of Charles rather than because of him.

        The first two King Charleses worked out so well.

          1. I like to think she was trying her mightiest to outlive him so he’d never get the throne. Sadly, His Earness is going to get the crown unless the Author really has a messed-up sense of humor in the time before his coronation.

            1. Actually, he is King as of the moment of her death. The coronation is a technicality.

              Which author postulated accession to kingship as the only known form of faster-than-light communication?

        1. Yay! Britain is sitting on a ginormous gas field that they’ve refused to drill.

          Give great thanks that in the US, mineral rights belong to the surface property owners instead of the government. We wouldn’t have had fracking without it, or probably even oil drilling full stop.

  31. William H. Stoddard wrote “Could you provide a link? That sort of
    perspective on LotR sounds interesting.”

    From the description, I am pretty confident that it is Bret Devereaux’s “acoup”
    weblog. Sometimes WordPress seems jumpy about my URLs, so instead of
    giving a link, I will merely observe that both Bing and Google can
    find “acoup Helm’s Deep” for me.

    (And it is, indeed, an interesting article on an interesting weblog.)

  32. Skipping to the bottom (300 comments?!?) to say, “yes, this!”

    There is a lot of good information out there, the problem is winnowing it out of the chaff. A good starting point: Anything the US media “reports” is wrong. Look for the opposite and you’ll find some good stuff – and the crazies, but they’re usually pretty obvious (and you’ll start to notice they have a lot of personality traits in common with the media folk).

    The world is falling apart, but it’s not that great a place, so let’s take the opportunity to remodel our corner of it and let everyone else enjoy their handbaskets.

    Seriously, how hard is it to say, “thanks, US, for keeping shipping possible and cheap” and then not rock the boat? You rocked it, you do the bailing. Enjoy your bilge water, Russia (broke, dying, and alcoholic), China (debt ridden ponzi scheme of the millennia), and Middle East (finally, they can all lose).

    If you’re not in the US, I’m sorry. Enjoy your bugs in the dark while we start colonizing the moon. There’s a bit of housecleaning to deal with along the way, but we’re reaching the “things that can’t go on, won’t” phase of the current insanities.

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